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During the ATAP session at Google I/O, the company's ATAP team showed off the latest prototype of Project Ara. For those of you who don't know what Project Ara is, or may have forgotten, it's the world's first modular smartphone.
The company has demoed Project Ara previously, but other attempts have had issues, with the latest demo proving that Project Ara works. Google engineer Rafa Camargo built a Project Ara modular smartphone on stage, adding modules to the frame, turned it on, booted it up with the latest version of Android, and took a picture of the audience. If that's not proof that Project Ara works, I don't know what is.
Project Ara will allow consumers to customize every single aspect of their smartphone: the processor, camera, RAM, battery, and countless other components of the smartphone. For those who don't use a front facing camera, don't install one! This space can be used for an SD card slot, or a bigger battery. Project Ara is aiming to hit a point where you won't need to buy an entire new phone when you want to upgrade, as you'll be able to upgrade just the components you want.
Google has introduced Android Pay, which will allow users to make purchases in retail stores without using a debit or credit card. Customers unlock a smartphone, place it near the retailer's contactless terminal, finalize the transaction, and can leave the store. Users don't even have to access the Android Pay app.
Some of the financial institutions include Chase, Capital One, US Bank, Citibank, American Express, MasterCard, Discover, Navy Federal Credit Union, and PNC.
Android Pay will also allow users to tap to pay while making purchases online, as they only need to click a "Buy with Android Pay" button.
Smartphone saturation in the United States, Western Europe, and other select regions has provided good opportunities for phone makers to sell devices to other countries. It's possible 1.2 billion smartphones could be sold in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico over the next two years, according to Google.
Smartphones are extremely popular in China and India - but higher price tags can scare away consumers - and more manufacturers want to cater to these markets with lower-priced models.
Google believes it's the perfect chance to promote its Android One initiative, designed so hardware manufacturers can create lower-cost smartphones running modern Android software.
Smartphone sales during Q1 topped 336 million units worldwide, a strong 19.3 percent year-over-year growth, according to the Gartner research group. The rising popularity of smartphones in emerging markets helped propel the market, including in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, pushing sales forward - a massive 40 percent increase in Q1.
"During this quarter, local brands and Chinese vendors came out as the key winners in emerging markets," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "These vendors recorded an average growth of 73 percent in smartphone sales and saw their combined share go up from 38 percent to 47 percent during the first quarter of 2015."
Samsung has 24 percent smartphone market share, ahead of Apple (17.9 percent), Lenovo (5.6 percent), Huawei (5.4 percent), LG Electronics (4.6), and other manufacturers. Not surprisingly, Google Android was the most dominant OS (78.9 percent), ahead of Apple iOS (17.9), Microsoft Windows (2.5 percent), BlackBerry (0.4 percent), and other mobile OSes.
Thanks to a bug surrounding message pop-ups and the Arabic language, a gamer by the name of 'Sinfulz0r' has shown the world how to restart a friends phone just by text messaging them.
The scene is set in front of some click looking Tt eSPORTS peripherals and it is explained that there has to be a few things going your way in order for this to work. It is explained that the 'victim' phone must either be on the home or lock screen and have drop down message notifications active.
According to 'Facebook experts' (random people on the internet) what is happening here is a glitch with the way your iPhone processes the Arabic text - filling up the phone's RAM and forcing it to restart. Either way it seems to work every time he sends a message to his mother's phone.
Who needs Google Now or Siri? Microsoft is preparing the Cortana voice assistant app for Google Android and Apple iOS. The app will be available for Android devices starting next month, and an iOS launch will take place later in 2015.
"The 'Phone Companion' app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you'll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go," Microsoft said on its Windows Blog.
The Cortana app is able to set reminders, track flights, use the Cortana Notebook, and other simple tasks available on Windows 10 PCs. However, there won't be voice activation or toggle settings in the initial version, but that functionality could be added in future releases.
Computex 2015 kicks off next week, with ASUS all set to unveil a new line of Android-powered tablets called ZenPad. The new ZenPad slates will arrive in two sizes: 7-inch and 8-inch.
The 7-inch ZenPad will rock a resolution of 1024x600, while the 8-inch version will bump things up to 2048x1536, with the 8-inch version sporting a 4:3 aspect ratio. The new ASUS ZenPad tablets will be powered by an Intel processor, and by the looks of the leaked press renders, we can expect a front-facing camera, front-facing stereo speakers, and a pretty damn nice design.
The ASUS Zenstation event takes place on June 1 in Taipei, Taiwan.
The global smartphone market is expected to grow 11.3 percent in 2015, but that is a drastically reduced number over the 27.6 percent growth rate in 2014, according to the IDC research group.
Meanwhile, Google Android has a strong control of the smartphone market, with 79.4 percent market share ahead of Apple iOS (16.4 percent), Microsoft Windows Phone (3.2 percent), and other OS versions (1 percent).
"Smartphone volume still has a lot of opportunity in the years to come, but two fundamental segments driving recent years' growth are starting to slow," said Ryan Reith, program director of the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "As reported earlier in May, smartphone shipments in China actually declined year-over-year in the first quarter of 2015, showing that the largest market in the world has reached a level of maturity where rapid growth will be harder to achieve."
Samsung has just unveiled the ultimate smartphone for Iron Man fans, with the new Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition smartphone looking bloody gorgeous. Check out the video detailing the new handset, below.
Introducing the #GalaxyS6edge Iron Man Limited Edition. Available in select countries.May 26, 2015
As you can see, this is a Galaxy S6 edge that has had no detail left untouched. The entire handset is themed in Iron Man colors: red and gold, while you also get a wireless charger in the box that sports the same look. Samsung has donned the Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition with a theme, which looks slick, even down to the phone dialer.
Samsung has said that the new Galaxy S6 edge Iron Man Limited Edition smartphone is "available in select countries", with no details on pricing just yet.
Nokia has just released its Android-powered Nokia N1 tablet outside of China, with it crossing the pond to Taiwan. The 7.9-inch slate is powered by an Intel Atom Z3580 processor.
The 7.9-inch screen has a resolution of 2048x1536, where the display is joined by 2GB of RAM, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Nokia will be shipping the N1 tablet with Google Services in Taiwan, with Android 5.0 Lollipop also making the cut. The Nokia N1 is priced at NTD 8,199 which converts to USD $269.